This paper provides an overview of the research and development efforts of the Lidar and Electro-Optics element of NASA's Aviation Safety Program. This element is seeking to improve the understanding of the atmospheric environments encountered by aviation and to provide enhanced situation awareness for atmospheric hazards. The improved understanding of atmospheric conditions is specifically to develop sensor signatures for atmospheric hazards. The current emphasis is on kinetic air hazards such as turbulence, aircraft wake vortices, mountain rotors, and windshear. Additional efforts are underway to identify and quantify the hazards arising from multi-phase atmospheric conditions including liquid and solid hydrometeors and volcanic ash. When the multi-phase conditions act as obscurants that result in reduced visual awareness, the element seeks to mitigate the hazards associated with these diminished visual environments. The overall purpose of these efforts is to enable safety improvements for air transport class and business jet class aircraft as the transition to the Next Generation Air Transportation System occurs.